Texas dominated the first quarter and jumped to a 17-0 lead on the first play of the second quarter and held on for a 28-21 victory Tuesday night against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
The No. 15 Longhorns outgained the No. 5 Bulldogs 101 yards to 8 in the quarter. Texas gained 83 of those yards through the air, a theme that continued on the Longhorns’ way to a 20-7 lead at halftime.
The Longhorns dominated the quarter from the start. A 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sam Ehlinger, his first of three rushing touchdowns, capped the first possession of the game, but Texas used its passing game to drive through Georgia’s defense. Ehlinger completed 6 of 6 passes for 68 yards on the team’s 75-yard drive.
Ehlinger finished the game 19-of-27 passing for 169 yards, and he rushed 21 times for 64 yards.
Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm was 21-for-35 passing for 224 yards and three touchdowns.
Georgia was outgained 355-296 in total offense and was held to 72 yards rushing.
Georgia’s early malaise showed up in several blunders that marked the first quarter. On a punt play at the end of the Bulldogs’ first drive, a low snap led punter Jake Camarda to drop to the ground to catch the ball. He kicked, and the punt was downed deep in Texas territory, but a video review showed that Camarda’s knee hit the ground at Georgia’s 27, giving Texas the ball at that spot.
Texas capitalized with a 37-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead with 6:05 to play in the quarter.
Camarda’s next punt went for only 11 yards.
After a Texas punt gave Georgia the ball on its own 10-yard line with 1:05 to play in the first quarter, running back D’Andre Swift fumbled on a second-and-10 play, and Texas recovered on Georgia’s 12, setting up a touchdown drive that ended with a 9-yard run by Ehlinger, who eluded a near sack on the play.
On the next possession, Georgia finally scored. The Bulldogs covered 75 yards on 12 plays, with running back Brian Herrien scoring on a 17-yard touchdown pass with 9:03 remaining in the half.
Texas added a 30-yard field goal at the end of the following drive to take a 20-7 lead with 4:37 to play in the first half.
Because of an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty against Georgia’s Tyler Simmons on the last play of the first half, Texas kicked off from the 50 to start the second half. Texas coach Tom Herman called for an onside kick, which Georgia recovered at its 41. The Bulldogs moved into Longhorns territory at the 49, but Fromm’s pass was intercepted at the Texas 17 and returned to the 39. From there, neither team scored in the third quarter.
But the third quarter ended with Texas sitting on the Georgia 11, first-and-10.
After a penalty on the first play of the quarter, Texas eventually faced a third-and-10 on the 11. From there Ehlinger’s hard run through Georgia’s defense gave the Longhorns a first-and-goal at the 1. Ehlinger kept the ball and his knee hit the ground just before he crossed the goal line. He tried again on second down and third down, and was stopped each time. On fourth down, Ehlinger eked across the goal line for a touchdown.
Georgia responded with a six-play drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Fromm to Mecole Hardman. A 31-yard pass from Fromm to Jeremiah Holloman set up the TD play. The drive left Georgia trailing 28-14 with 10:25 to play.
Georgia added a touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Fromm to Swift with 14 seconds remaining on the clock.
Georgia’s ensuing onside kick was recovered by Texas with 13 seconds to play.